Murder At Midnight - Thirty Episodes - Sorted By Copyright Sequence
Topics Murder At Midnight
Sorted By Copyright Sequence
Slightly over half of the fifty-two Murder At Midnight episodes that were produced, sorted by the order in which the shows were copyrighted. This is an effort to gather all available episodes in one place, fill in cast information where possible, and clear up some misnaming and misconceptions about the series.
We have sequenced these programs using a source that lists all fifty-two episodes, the Library of Congress copyright catalogues of 1946 and 1947. These pages, linked below, list all of the shows with their production numbers, copyright dates, and writer's names. While the mp3 file names in this collection do include a date, it is not a broadcast date, but rather the date of copyright.
More information on the series itself can be found on Introduction To Old Time Radio's 'Murder At Midnight: The Radio Show' page, linked at the bottom of this article.
Below is some rather dense information and hypothesizing on the dating of Murder At Midnight; feel free to skip over it and just enjoy the programs.
Problems With Sequencing By Broadcast Date:
Murder At Midnight was released beginning in early 1946 and sold to stations on transcription disks, and by 1949 the series had been sold to 173 stations in markets ranging from eight thousand to eight million listeners. Being a syndicated program, sequencing the series by broadcast date is difficult if not impossible, as any of these stations could play any purchased episode at any time they wished. In 1950, for example, when WOR New York aired the series, they completely abandoned the show's usual order. Unfortunately, sequencing by broadcast date has led to shows released very close to each other carrying dates that are several years apart.
One thing that we do know is that the series began its KFI Los Angeles run in the spring of 1946, making it one of the first stations to carry the program, if not the very first. One reputable OTR website states that "The series is known to have started as early as April 19, 1946, the series was known to have started on KFI, Los Angeles on May 10, 1946 and on WJZ, New York City on September 26, 1946", yet the same website lists the broadcast date of the first episode on KFI as April 19th. The 1946 Library of Congress copyright catalogue also states "Broadcast beginning April 19, 1946", although the actual copyright date for the first episode listed is April 30, 1946.
L.A. Times radio listings don't offer much assistance in pinning down the KFI premiere, as they were still listing 'Haunting Hr.' in the 9:30pm Friday time slot (as they had since November 2, 1945) as late as May 17th, then 'Murder Hr.' on May 24th, and finally 'Murder. Midnite' on May 31st.
The last L.A. Times appearance of Murder At Midnight in this KFI time slot was October 18, 1946, being replaced on October 25 by 'Mystery Theater'. Since the series was sold in 13-week blocks, if KFI purchased 26 shows, with the last being aired on October 18th, then airing all 26 without pre-emption means that the first episode would have aired on April 26, 1946. If the show was pre-empted just once, or if the L.A. Times was just one week late in updating their listings in October of 1946, that would push the date of the KFI premiere up to April 19th, the reported first day that the program took to the air anywhere. Of course, even if KFI had purchased a full 26 show cycle, there is no guarantee that they would have aired all of them.
An ad in Variety of Wednesday May 22, 1946 confirms that the series had already begun airing on Friday nights on KFI, placing the latest date of its premiere on that station as May 17th. Still, as this ad doesn't mention a specific date but does refer to their “First Sponsor”, one may assume that KFI actually was the first station to air Murder At Midnight, as early as April 19th.
A segment of a Murder At Midnight ad from Variety, May 22, 1946
Sequencing By Copyright Number And Date:
As you can see by the previous section (congratulations to those who slogged all the way through it), dating broadcasts of a transcribed, syndicated series can be quite problematic. Comparatively, sequencing the episodes by their copyright information is refreshingly simple. A quick glance at the Library of Congress copyright catalogues shows the episodes in the order in which producer Louis G. Cowan Inc. saw them, and hearing them in this order provides a healthy mix of genres, ensuring that listening never gets stale.
Two complete lists of the fifty-two episodes in the copyright catalogues of 1946 and 1947, one with cast notes and trivia on both extant and lost episodes, can be found behind the TEXT link on this page.
Copies of the relevant Library of Congress copyright catalogue pages can be found behind the JPEG link on this page; links to the Internet Archive pages for these publications can be found below.
More information on the series and the sequencing used here can be found on the ITOTR 'Murder At Midnight: The Radio Show' page, linked below.
Note 1: The mp3 file names (but not the metadata) include dates. These do not represent broadcast dates, but rather the date of the original copyright of each episode. This is why more than one episode can carry the same date.
Note 2: A few of the mp3 files on this page have had very minor digital cleaning applied; the original files were found on other pages on Internet Archive. The differences are very slight, with the exception of 'Red Wheels', which has had a duplicated line (record skip) removed, and the audio improved to a much more listenable condition.
Note 3: Almost all of the mp3 files on the internet named 'The Mark Of Cain' or 'Dead Man's Turn' are actually Death Across The Board, and most, if not all, of the files named 'The Black Curtain' are actually Death Worshipper. 'Murder Across The Board' is simply a misnamed copy of Death Across The Board. Check your files; the show's title is announced about one minute into the program.
A proper copy of The Mark Of Cain is included in this collection, but Dead Man's Turn was unavailable. The actual episode The Black Curtain does not seem to be available online, but there is evidence that both it and the previous episode, 'We Who Are About To Die', still exist in a private collection and may someday be made public. These are photographs found on the internet of transcription disks of those two episodes (possibly the same disk, with part 1 of each of two back-to-back episodes).
Episode Titles, Writers, Cast, Trivia:
These are the shows that are available on this page, with cast information gathered from the show itself, a review in Variety, New York Times listings, or reliable internet sources (where the internet source differs from announced cast and/or radio listings). A complete list of all fifty-two Murder At Midnight episodes produced, along with writer and cast information where available, can be found behind the TEXT link on this page.
* Note: the number preceding each episode is the show's number in the copyright sequence.
Production: Anton Leader (director), Louis G Cowan (producer), Raymond Morgan (announcer), Charles Paul (music, episodes 1-15, 20-26, 29-30, 35), Bert Buhrman (music, episodes 16-19). No music credit is given for episode 36.
1. The Dead Hand, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: None Given
~ (with Berry Kroeger, Betty Caine, Barry Hopkins, Frank Readick; Raymond Morgan, Announcer - Variety 1946-05-29)
~ (with Berry Kroeger, Betty Caine, Barry Hopkins and Frank Readick - NYT 1950-05-01 - WOR)
~ (with Betty Caine, Carl Frank, Barry Hopkins, Lawson Zerbe - Internet)
* The Dead Hand was also sent to stations as the audition episode.
2. The Man Who Was Death, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: Frank Behrens (Jan Rolfe)
3. The Secret Of XR-3, by Max Ehrlich
~ Announced Cast: Karl Swenson (Gorgo)
~ (with Karl Swenson - NYT 1950-06-12 - WOR)
4. Wherever I Go, by William Morwood
~ Announced Cast: Berry Kroeger (Gordon Ormsby)
~ (with Berry Kroeger - NYT 1946-10-07 - WJZ)
5. Trigger Man, by Max Ehrlich
~ Announced Cast: William Quinn ('Chicken' Charlie Nix)
~ (with Berry Kroeger - NYT 1946-10-14 - WJZ)
* The New York Times listed Berry Kroeger as a star of Trigger Man, but his very distinctive voice does not seem to be heard in this episode.
6. Death's Goblet, by Sigmund Miller
~ Announced Cast: Eric Dressler (Harvey)
~ (with Eric Dressler, John Griggs - Internet)
7. The Heavy Death, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: Frank Readick (Shill Sullivan)
~ (with Frank Readick, Lon Clark - Internet)
8. Nightmare, by Joseph Ruscoll
~ Announced Cast: Elspeth Eric (Helen), Walter Vaughan (Ernie)
9. The Dead Come Back, by William Morwood
~ Announced Cast: Joseph Julian (Lefty O'Connor)
10. Terror Out Of Space, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: George Petrie (John Larkin), Peter Capell (Prof. Martell)
11. The Creeper, by Joseph Ruscoll
~ Announced Cast: Ann Shepherd (Georgia)
* The same script was used by Molle Mystery Theater, Murder By Experts, The Chase, and several television shows including Suspense and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
12. The Man Who Died Yesterday, by William Morwood
~ Announced Cast: Stuart Brody (David Hapgood), Mandel Kramer (Walt)
13. Till Death Do Us Part, by Joseph Ruscoll
~ Announced Cast: Elspeth Eric (Prof. Ruth Clark), Eric Dressler (Prof. Frank Clark)
~ (with Eric Dressler - NYT 1946-12-09 - WJZ)
14. Murder Is A Lonely Business, by William Morwood
~ Announced Cast: Helen Shields (Grace), Wendell Holmes (her husband), Carl Emory (her lover)
~ (with Wendell Holmes and Helen Shields - NYT 1946-12-16 - WJZ)
15. The House Where Death Lived, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: Berry Kroeger (Dr. Gough)
16. The Kabbala, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: James Van Dyke (Dr. Rudd)
17. The Ace Of Death, by Max Ehrlich
~ Announced Cast: Karl Swenson (John Evans), John Griggs (Club President)
* Original story by Robert Louis Stevenson, 'Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts' from the trilogy 'The Suicide Club', adapted by Max Ehrlich.
18. The House That Time Forgot, by Sigmund Miller
~ Announced Cast: Vincent Hayworth (Mr. Jordan), Elsie Hicks (Mrs. Jordan)
19. Death Tolls A Requiem, by Max Ehrlich
~ Announced Cast: Michael Fitzmaurice (Arthur Brooke)
~ (with Michael Fitzmaurice, Ed Begley, Arthur Maitland, Others - NYT 1947-03-17 - WJZ)
20. The 13th Floor, by Winifred Wolfe
~ Announced Cast: Ann Shepherd (Kitty), Paul Mann (Nicky)
21. The Mark Of Cain, by A. S. Ginnes
~ Announced Cast: Berry Kroeger (The Brothers Sturgess)
* Many mp3s named 'The Mark Of Cain' are actually 'Death Across The Board'; check your files. The title is announced about one minute into the show.
22. Red Wheels, by Jack Gordun
~ Announced Cast: John Sylvester (Freddy)
~ (with Craig McDonnell, Frank Behrens, John Sylvester, Others - NYT 1947-03-24 - WJZ)
23. The Line Is Dead, by Bafe Blau
~ Announced Cast: Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Edward Johnson (Mr. & Mrs. Albert Lockridge)
* 'Mrs. Raymond Edward Johnson' is actually Betty Caine, the radio actress who also appeared in Murder At Midnight's premiere episode, The Dead Hand.
24. Death Across The Board, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: Eric Dressler (Dr. John Strand)
* The same script had been used by Inner Sanctum Mysteries on June 5 1945, starring Raymond Massey as Dr. John Strand.
25. Murder Out Of Mind, by Sigmund Miller
~ Announced Cast: Charlotte Holland, Alan Hewitt
* A shameless, but well-played, rip-off of Gaslight.
26. Death's Worshipper, by Jay Williams
~ Announced Cast: Bess Johnson (Kate), Carl Emory (Quentin)
29. The Ape Song, by Peter Martin
~ Announced Cast: Raymond Edward Johnson (The Big Game Hunter),
~ (with Raymond E Johnson, Ruth Yorke, Brad Barker, Alfred Shirley, Others - NYT 1947-03-31 - WJZ)
30. The Man With The Black Beard, by Sigmund Miller
~ Announced Cast: Mercedes McCambridge (Evelyn Corbett)
~ (with Mercedes McCambridge and Others - NYT 1947-02-03 - WJZ)
35. The Black Swan, by Leon Meadow
~ Announced Cast: Lawson Zerbe (Our Storyteller, Amos Bradley)
* Note: This mp3 suffers throughout from 'digital hiccups', but improves somewhat as the episode continues.
36. Island Of The Dead, by Robert Newman
~ Announced Cast: None Given
To visit Introduction To Old-Time Radio's 'Murder At Midnight: The Radio Show' page, with more information on the series itself, click here.
Click to visit the Internet Archive page with the relevant Library Of Congress copyright catalogues, for 1946 (episodes 1-50) or 1947 (episodes 51 and 52).
Copies of the Library of Congress copyright catalogue pages used here can be found behind the JPEG link on this page.
Two text file versions of the Library of Congress list, one with cast information and trivia added, can be read or downloaded behind the TEXT link on this page.
A selection of advertisements and articles relating to Murder At Midnight can be found behind the ZIP link on this page. Note: If you have already downloaded the zip file from the ITOTR 'Murder At Midnight: The Radio Show' page, you already have the material contained herein.
Murder At Midnight advertisement from Variety, May 22, 1946
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